At this year’s NYC Maker Faire, I came across a new workholding system that really captured my attention – RaptorLoc.
The RaptorLoc system had some familiar elements, such as modular hoses being used for part and accessory positioning, and some new ones.
At the heart of the system is a thick and high quality HDPE base that is CNC-machined by the inventor. The hardware? Thoughtfully and carefully selected, with a focus on USA-made parts if and where possible.
(I believe that maybe only the alligator clips are made overseas. Having had difficulty in sourcing USA-made alligator clips myself, I can’t complain about this.)
I spent a LOT of time at the RaptorLoc booth. The system didn’t strike me as a “me too” product, it really seemed like something that has been made better.
I asked what some might consider an inordinate number of questions, and I really liked the answers I heard.
The RaptorLoc bases can be attached to standard T-channel extrusions, using standard hardware. RaptorLoc recommends Orange T-track products, which are available at Amazon. You can embed the T-tracks into your work table, or use them on top, for a portable and easily stored away system.
There are standard worl-holding setups, and ones that can be used with Panavise bases. Shown here is a combination of a Panasivse base and regular work-holding base. You can use them this way, but you don’t have to.
RaptorLoc bases are modular and connectable. You can build a larger work-holding setup to suit your needs.
As mentioned, I really liked the answers that the inventor offered in response to my questions. We talked about how the alligator clips are attached to the Loc-Line tips, about the different types of commercial HDPE panels he used for the base materials, the difference between the white and black bases, about the hardware, accessories, and everything in between.
I came to the conclusion that every aspect of the RaptorLoc was designed and optimized, not with profitability in mind, but providing the best possible work-holding solution.
The demonstration setup showed the different ways the RaptorLoc system can be used, from holding a small circuit board, to an RC car. You can use threaded rod and standard hardware to create elevated work platforms, such as for supporting larger projects.
The system seemed to be elegant, customizable, and adaptable.
I bought two sets, on the spot. I wanted a third, but the credit card scanner wasn’t working properly and I didn’t have enough cash on me.
I really only needed one, but I figured two would let me properly test out the modular nature of the product. Or maybe I could eventually give one away. The product looked good, and I wanted to support the inventor.
RaptorLoc products are a little pricey, but it’s hard to avoid that. Loc-Line modular hoses, unlike some other import brands’, use pipe tap threaded connections. It takes machine time and several tooling changes to make each base. The cost of materials factors into the price as well.
I like what I see from RaptorLoc, and think that there’s the potential for expandability. There’s the potential for more accessory attachments, and maybe even different base materials and sizes.
HawkLoc: standard base with tall zip-tie mounts ($30)
FalconLoc: standard base with 3 helping hand arms and PCB holder ($45)
ViseLoc: PanaVise base plate (vise not included), with 3 helping hand arms ($40)
Update: This is special holiday season pricing, with regular pricing expected to return in January.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
There are additional options via RaptorLoc directly, such as extra bases or attachments. You can also buy the “Midnight edition” bases and sets.
Lastly, the inventor is a ToolGuyd reader and commentor, something that I only learned about when he emailed about the product a few weeks after Maker Faire. I thought that to be really cool!
Update (8/2020): The RaptorLoc website is now defunct, and it doesn’t look like you can buy the products on Amazon any longer either.